Chapter 1: Voluntary Death
Lieh Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lao Tzu, the three Taoist masters, only talk about the way - “Tao” means the way - they don’t talk about the goal at all. They say: The goal will take care of itself; you need not worry about the goal. If you know the way you know the goal, because the goal is not at the very end of the way, the goal is all over the way - each moment and each step it is there. It is not that when the way ends you arrive at the goal; each moment, wherever you are, you are at the goal if you are on the way. To be on the way is to be at the goal. Hence they don’t talk about the goal, they don’t talk about God, they don’t talk about moksha, nirvana, enlightenment - no, not at all. Very simple is their message: You have to find the way.
Things become a little more complicated because they say: The way has no map, the way is not charted, the way is not such that you can follow somebody and find it. The way is not like a super-highway; the way is more like a bird flying in the sky - it leaves no marks behind. The bird has flown but no marks are left; nobody can follow. So the way is a pathless path. It IS a path, but it is a pathless path. It is not ready-made, available; you cannot just decide to walk on it, you will have to find it. And you will have to find it in your own way; nobody else’s way is going to function. Buddha has walked, Lao Tzu has walked, Jesus has walked, but those ways are not going to help you because you are not Jesus, and you are not Lao Tzu, and you are not Lieh Tzu. You are you, a unique individual. Only by walking, only by living your life, will you find the way. This is something of great value.
That’s why Taoism is not an organized religion cannot be. It is an organic religion but not an organized religion. You can be a Taoist if you simply live your life authentically, spontaneously; if you have the courage to go into the unknown on your own, individual, not leaning on anybody, not following anybody, simply going into the dark night not knowing whether you will arrive anywhere or you will be lost. If you have the courage, that risk is there - it is risky, it is adventurous.
Christianity, Hinduism, Mohammedanism are super-highways: you need not risk anything, you simply follow the crowd, you go with the mob. With Tao you have to go alone, you have to be alone. Tao respects the individual and not the society. Tao respects the unique and not the crowd. Tao respects freedom and not conformity. Tao has no tradition. Tao is a rebellion, and the greatest rebellion possible.